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Connect the World

Arab Leaders Discuss Regional Cooperation in Abu Dhabi; UAE Hosts "Fraternal Consultative" Meeting of Arab Leaders; Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Acquitted of Tax Evasion Charges. Aired 11:40a-12p ET

Aired January 18, 2023 - 11:40   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: More of our top story for you searches and rescue operations have now ended outside Kyiv after a

helicopter crash killed 14 people including Ukraine's interior minister, his first deputy in the ministry is secretary of state all nine aboard the

helicopter died along with five people on the ground including one child.

An investigation into the causes underway well, last hour I spoke to CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward, she was reporting from the

crash site in Brovary in Ukraine. This is what she told me.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's still no indication as to exactly how this happened. Becky, we know that Ukraine

security services the SPU has opened what they call a pre-trial investigation. Obviously, they're exploring every possible avenue. But

we've been here for most of the day and talking to people who live around here. There was an extremely thick fog this morning.

One man said he was out on his balcony smoking when the crash happened and he could hear it but he couldn't see it right away. Because the thought fog

was so thick so that's one theory, at least that's being put forward as to how exactly this happened. But no matter what, it is an incredible tragedy.

The kindergarten you probably can't see now because it's so dark, but just behind me, literally the helicopter clipped the edge of the kindergarten

and then crashed directly behind it in the playground. And so, among the dead we know as you mentioned, at least one of them is a child. The others

are believed to be people who were bringing their kids to school or locals who were around the area.

So just a tragic day for a country that has already as you know, Becky experienced so much harm, so much pain, and it will be quite some time

probably before we'll get any meaningful answers or the results of any investigation into how exactly this tragedy happened.

ANDERSON: Clarissa Ward reporting there. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. Arab leaders came together for a meeting here

in Abu Dhabi earlier on what's the occasion we're going to discuss, that up next.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, folks. Leaders from the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Egypt have been meeting here today in Abu Dhabi, the leaders'

summit to discuss security political and economic cooperation. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq who have taken part in

similar meetings in the recent past were absent from this Abu Dhabi gathering.

Well, this comes a day after the UAE marked years since the Houthi missile and drone attack killed three people in Abu Dhabi. In the aftermath of that

attack, the UAE's Ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh told me the UAE reserves the right to defend itself, have a listen.


LANA NUSSEIBEH, UAE AMBASSADOR TO U.N: We will continue to prevail, and at the same time, we will reserve the right to defend ourselves and that right

will be practiced in a manner consistent with international law and it will be proportionate and abide by international humanitarian law.

But at the same time, we reserve the full right to defend the security and safety of the millions of people from different countries around the world

who have chosen to travel to the UAE and have chosen to call the UAE their home. 32,000 upwards of 32,000 people transit through Abu Dhabi airport

every day. And that was one of the targets as we know now of the 17th January attack.


ANDERSON: That was Lana Nusseibeh speaking to me this time last year. While the White House released a statement from President Joe Biden on Tuesday

saying one year ago in a terrorist attack launched from Yemen two ballistic missiles and a series of drones targeted civilian sites in the United Arab


Today, we remember the lives that were so tragically lost and we reaffirm the United States commitment to the safety and security of the Emirati

people. Well, my next guest is Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, who's an Emirati Political Science Professor. I want to talk about the anniversary as it

were, or the one year on of the attack on the UAE by Houthi armed drones momentarily.

Because it's an important anniversary and one that the White House this year, has marked and acknowledged, which is very different to its response,

or lack of response this time last year, which infuriated the UAE. Before I do that, let's just talk about the meeting that was here earlier. The

readout of the meeting suggesting the leaders met to discuss political, economic and security cooperation.

I want you to drill down because that's a very anodyne statement, anodyne read out, drill down for us, if you will, what are the priorities of these

countries? And let's remind ourselves specifically the UAE and Qatar together today here in the Abu Dhabi only recently back on speaking terms,

of course, what do you make of what we saw?

ABDULKHALEQ ABDULLA, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Thanks for having me Becky here again, here. And UAE, Abu Dhabi, in particular has not been

short of receiving dignitaries, global leaders and regional leaders for the past year and especially lately. So, this comes as a continuation of Abu

Dhabi receiving regional leaders.

This meeting, however, in a way I could read it as a show of solidarity with the UAE which is going through, as you correctly said the first

anniversary of the attack, but there is plenty to talk about when you have such a gathering.

And I think on top of these issues that are important and concern to all of us is how we bring back some kind of stability to a region that has lost

its stability in the aftermath of the Arab spring. So, these guys, these leaders will be here is in a way showing solidarity but them also

discussing regional stability.


ANDERSON: Regional stability, which will include, of course, Israel, and the Palestinian issue. And this meeting comes on the heels of a gathering

of leaders of Egypt and Jordan, specifically with the Palestinians in Egypt recently. When you look at the photograph that we have shown of those who

met in Abu Dhabi today, what next for the Palestinians, and for how the impact on the ground on the streets of support for Palestinians around this

region means for those gathered leaders?

ABDULLA: I think that Palestinians are probably facing one of their toughest moments in their struggle, because of this very right-wing

government that we are that we have to deal with the Netanyahu and his company. So, I think there is a message here that comes after this meeting

to the Palestinians. We're not turning our back on the Palestinian causes; we're going to be there for them.

And I think the Palestinian issue was probably among the top issues that were discussed, and how to deal with this new government in Israel is

probably another issue there. It's going to be very awkward going through with normal relationship, when you have people like - among others that are

just expansionist, wants to annex all of the west bank.

So, I think when these guys when these leaders meet, I think definitely this kind of common position as to how do we deal with this government in

Israel? This probably has been discussed - is discussed thoroughly.

ANDERSON: Notably, absent the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one would expect the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to have been representing that country.

What do you make of his absence from that group?

ABDULLA: That wouldn't make a big deal out of it. I think those who made it is the one that are welcomed, and those who were absent have their own

reasons for not making it. I think Saudi Arabia today is very much into its own internal domestic issue. They are very much busy with the vision 2030.

But I think they know exactly what this meeting is all about.

And they will be fully briefed in due time. So, i really don't feel anything about the fact that maybe one or two especially the leader of

Saudi Arabia has not made it because maybe he has a full schedule, and this is probably was a prompt.


ABDULLA: Towards - arranged there in very late notice. So that wouldn't make a big deal out of those who did not make it.

ANDERSON: Abdulkhaleq, we've run out of time, unfortunately, because it's been a packed show of breaking news, not least about Ukraine and listening

to President Zelenskyy earlier on, in his speech from Davos. It will be good to catch up with you again. We marked the anniversary here a year on

from the attacks by armed drones from the Houthis response at the time from the Americans was less than satisfactory as far as the UAE is concerned.

And we have seen the coming together of sort of regional leaders, looking for regional solutions to regional problems, be those economics or

security, sort of in this last year period, specifically as many and we've reported on this numerous times, as many in this region see sort of -

influence from the United States and particularly from this Washington administration. It's good to have you sir, always a pleasure. Thank you

very much indeed.

Egypt facing currency crisis inflation and five-year highs and an odd government suggestion check out CNN's Meanwhile, in the Middle East

Newsletter published right here in Abu Dhabi. As they look at what Egypt's government wants people to why wants people to eat chicken feet, something

that's during ridicule and anger from its citizens.

Well, before we go, I just want to update you on a few other new stories on our radar. Journalist Nobel laureate Maria Ressa has been acquitted of four

charges of tax evasion in the Philippines ending a slew of legal hearings she says were politically motivated.


ANDERSON: The charges were brought against her by the government to former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fifth tax evasion charge still looms

over her and her media company Rappler. The veteran Philippine American journalist says the ruling is a victory for truth.

And the world's oldest known person a French nun has died at the age of 118. Sister Andre passed away on Tuesday in southern France. According to

Guinness world record Sister Andre was the oldest nun ever to live and she dedicated most of her life to religious service.

She saw 18 French presidents in her lifetime, and 10 different Pope's presiding over the Catholic Church since she was born. My goodness! Thank

you for joining us, wherever you are watching in the world. CNN of course continues after this short break, we will be back same time, same place

tomorrow, see you then.